Filling water in my flask in the office kitchen, I shared stories from yesterday evening with my colleague. As I walked back to my desk I was aware of how snug my jeans felt. Leaning back in my chair, ready to face the day, I was suddenly reminded of Friday evening. K and I spent a nice evening with UL and family. We went to the temple and to Hot Breads from there. As we sat around the table, my attention turned to a couple sitting across from me. They look like newly weds I thought and went back to attack my sev puri. I heard her anklets and got distracted again. The next hour or so we were there, I kept sneaking glances at the girl. There was so much running through my head and I felt I had to apologize for staring so much.
You see, she was wearing anklets, a metti, a very elegant watch, a nice diamond ring, her long hair braided with two slides keeping stragglers falling into her face, her shiny thali kept glinting in under the dull bulb above them. She was looking deeply into the eyes of the person sitting against her, toying with her ring and her hands punctutating her conversation with its fluid movements. Her eyes were bright and lively. Every now and then she would adjust her well fitting top pulling at the neck line and waist and glance around uncomfortably. As she walked up to get a pastry, I noticed her jeans were baggy and then I knew.
She was me eight years back. Right down to the metti on her feet. For that one moment, I could see my life flash before me. The changes, slow and steady. Every year losing some of the ‘traditionalism’ and merging into the sameness around me. As I left that night, I turned around one last time to see her. To remember what it was like. It was bittersweet.